I. The ConceptOtto Klineberg
II. Social DiscriminationJ. Milton Yinger
The English term “prejudice” and its equivalents in many other European languages (French préjugé; German Vomrteil; Portuguese preconceito) refer primarily to a prejudgment or a preconcept reached before the relevant information has been collected or examined and therefore based on in adequate or even imaginary evidence. In contemporary social science this notion has been retained but is usually regarded as constituting only one aspect of the complex phenomenon of prejudice, namely, the conceptual, or cognitive, aspect–the ideas or opinions we have about those individuals or groups who are the objects of such prejudgment. (The term “stereotype” is usually applied to this aspect.) Prejudice also involves an attitude for or against, the ascription of a positive or negative value, an affective, or feeling, component. Usually there is in addition a readiness to express in action the judgments and feelings which we experience, to behave in a manner which reflects our acceptance or rejection of others: this is the conative, o behavioral, aspect of prejudice. (The resulting actions are also described as representing varying degrees of discrimination.) Prejudice may there fore be defined as an unsubstantiated prejudgment of an individual or group, favorable or unfavorable in character, tending to action in a consonant direction.
Social science research has joined with popular usage in introducing two limitations to this con cept. In the first place, favorable prejudices, although they undoubtedly exist, have attracted relatively little attention, perhaps on the principle that they do good rather than harm. It might, however, legitimately be argued that even favorable prejudices should be discouraged, since they too represent unwarranted generalizations, often of an irrational nature. Second, although prejudice may extend far and wide to apply to objects as disparate as trade-union leaders, women, or exotic foods, in practice it has been considered as dealing primarily —if not exclusively—with populations or ethnic groups distinguished by the possession of specific inherited physical characteristics (“race”), or b differences in language, religion, culture, national origin, or any combination of these. This article, therefore, will be primarily concerned with ethnic prejudice. The Italian anthropologist Tentori takes approximately this position when he defines prejudice as the “negative perception of human groups culturally different from ourselves” (1962, p. 14); but the limitation to perception on the one hand and to cultural differences on the other makes th concept considerably narrower than that which is here proposed.
The term “ethnic group” is used in preference to the more popular “race” as the object of prejudice, first because of the difficulty of adequately defining the latter term so that it may safely be applied to human populations, and second because of the even more important fact that the populations against whom prejudice may be directed do no usually satisfy the criteria of “race” proposed by physical anthropologists and geneticists. The phenomenon here being considered can be interpreted in terms of “race” in the case of the apartheid policy of the South African government, although even here the extension of the same attitudes and the same degree of discrimination to Africans, to the mixed “Coloureds,” and to Indians (usually classed by anthropologists with Caucasians) indicates the lack of consistency in this respect. American attitudes toward the Negro diverge from “race” relations in the true sense to the extent that persons who are genetically almost completely “white” may not be so considered if they have any degree of Negro admixture. Elsewhere other criteria of differentiation may play the dominant role. In Canada, Belgium, and India hostilities appear to follow mainly linguistic lines; in Malaysia the demarcation is due primarily to national origin, and comparable situations are found in many other regions where immigration has been extensive. In Lebanon, Nigeria, and the Sudan, religious differences are also important, as they are in part at least in the case of anti-Semitism; in Brazil and Mexico cultural (and class) factors predominate, so that the word indio is restricted to those who have remained culturally Indian, and there appears to be complete acceptance of those Indians who have become “acculturated.” To speak of “race relations” in such contexts is clearly incorrect, and use of the expression “sociological races” to cover these cases —because the groups concerned are treated as if they were “races”—simply perpetuates an unfortunate and misleading terminology.
In his valuable treatment of the nature of prejudice, G. W. Allport states that “Prejudgments become prejudices only if they are not reversible when exposed to new knowledge” (1954, p. 9). This criterion of prejudice appears to go too far. Granted that prejudice is difficult to remove, it surely cannot be assumed that if and when it has been removed by new knowledge it could not really have been prejudice in the first place. The question of the use of information to reduce prejudice will be discussed below as part of the wider problem of determining what methods and techniques are most effective in this connection.
It would be difficult to overestimate the importance of prejudice as a problem for the social sciences. The hostility which prejudice engenders and the discrimination to which it may lead on the part of the dominant population toward other ethnic groups or minorities have caused so much human damage (the Nazi period represents perhaps the most drastic example) that it is hardly surprising that so many specialists in these disciplines have directed their energies toward understanding and control of this form of social pathology. Particularly but by no means exclusively in the United States, the problem has not only aroused general concern but has also been seen as a research challenge by psychologists, psychiatrists, sociologists, anthropologists, political scientists, lawyers, educators, and others whose professional activities are concerned with human behavior. This has been not only out of humanitarian motives but also out of conviction that the very life of a community may be at stake. The concern has been deepened by the realization that what happens inside a country may also have significant international repercussions. The apartheid policy has implications far outside the confines of South Africa; the American treatment of Negroes affects the image and the leadership of the United States throughout the world.
Nor is prejudice a monopoly of the whites. The emergence of new nations has to a certain degree brought with it what has sometimes been called racism in reverse, an antiwhite attitude on the part of darker-skinned peoples. The philosophy of negritude, developed by French-speaking Africans and West Indians, has stressed the values inherent in African culture, but it has by no means always been free of aggressive overtones (Thomas 1963). Prejudice and ethnic hostilities constitute a major danger to peace both within a nation and among nations.
The causes of prejudice
The fact that prejudice is so widespread has led to a popular belief that it is inevitable and universal. Even among social scientists the view has occasionally been expressed that human nature involves a “dislike of the unlike,” although what is “unlike” has never been adequately defined; or it has been suggested that “in-group” feelings are invariably accompanied by dislike of the “out-group,” but this, too, has never been demonstrated. A German social psychologist, Hofstatter, has suggested (1954) that one must accept the fact that prejudice against members of other groups represents a “normal” phenomenon of human social life and that no one is free from this attitude. This appears to be an extreme and unjustified conclusion. Individuals and groups vary so tremendously in the extent to which they show prejudice that any attempt to explain it in terms of a universal human nature fails to carry conviction. The full acceptance of Orientals by most whites in Hawaii and their relative rejection in California or British Columbia is difficult to reconcile with such a theory. The further fact that the most intimate degrees of association, including intermarriage or miscegenation, have occurred to such an extent that most anthropologists deny the existence of “pure races” argues that prejudice cannot be universal. Finally, its absence in young children, even though they may acquire it relatively early in life from their social environment, argues that learning rather than nature plays the dominant role in its development (Harding et al. 1954).
Derivations from psychoanalysis
One view of the universality of prejudice seems to derive from an erroneous interpretation of psychoanalytic theory. This theory, particularly in its orthodox form, regards hostility or aggression (Freud’s Thanatos) as instinctive and universal; prejudice would then be simply one manifestation of this instinct. Not all psychoanalysts would accept this formulation, but even those who do would add that although aggression must manifest itself in some form, there is no one form (for example, prejudice) which must be regarded as inevitable. There is still considerable argument as to whether hostile aggression is universal, but in any case it can be expressed in so many different ways that inference to the universality of prejudice remains exceedingly doubtful.
Frustration-aggression theory. A variant of this view is found in the well-known frustrationaggression theory (Dollard et al. 1939), which in its original formulation argued that frustration always leads to aggression and that aggression is always due to frustration. An impressive array of clinical and experimental evidence was marshaled in favor of this position, and there can be no doubt that it has contributed to an understanding of the problem. The fact remains, however, that even if aggression is reactive rather than primary, the same objection holds—namely, that no one manifestation of aggression is necessarily implied and that the specific phenomenon of prejudice requires some further explanation. There is, therefore, circularity in the argument which holds that hostility must be expressed and that when a group like the Negroes is indicated by society as a legitimate object for such hostility, it can then be safely directed by the whites in this accepted fashion. The circularity occurs by taking for granted the very phenomenon that the theory sets out to explain: if society indicates that hostility may with impunity be directed against the Negro, that hostility must have been there to start with. It is not surprising that in later formulations of the theory the role of learning is given a prominent place (Miller & Dollard 1941) in determining the specific nature of the behavior that follows frustration.
Prejudice as a learned behavior
Prejudice may certainly be learned; it is through (mainly unconscious) learning that a child acquires and incorporates the prejudices prevalent in his society. Research has shown that in the early years there is a close relation between the ethnic attitudes of parents and children; somewhat later the correspondence is rather between teachers and their pupils. The representation of minority groups in the mass media may also play a part in reinforcing, if not in creating, the current attitudes. Most significant, in all probability, is the role of social factors and institutions which emphasize lines of demarcation between ethnic groups—segregation, whether de jure as in South Africa or de facto as in many North American cities, in connection with housing and education; “exclusive” clubs or resorts; churches limited to one ethnic group; restrictions on enrollment in certain colleges or universities; limitations on advancement to executive positions in industry; and discrimination in employment generally. These and similar phenomena serve as constant reminders that they are not like us. It is in this sense that discrimination causes prejudice as well as the other way around. As Myrdal pointed out in connection with the American Negro, the relation is a circular one: “White prejudice and discrimination keep the Negro low in standards of living, health, education, manners and morals. This, in turn, gives support to White prejudice. White prejudice and Negro standards thus mutually ‘cause’ each other” (1944, p. 75).
Unimportance of contact. One form of learning turns out to be less important in causing prejudice or hostile attitudes than is usually believed, namely, that resulting from actual contact with other ethnic groups. It may of course happen that an extremely dramatic or traumatic experience—such as being attacked on a lonely street or being saved from drowning by a member of a particular ethnic group —may result in a generalization regarding the characteristics of the group concerned; it may also happen that repeated experiences of a similar nature may create, and even appear to justify, such a generalized attitude. Research has shown, however, that such experiences are not necessary for prejudices to develop. In one study, students showed a high degree of “social distance” from Turks, even though most of them had never seen a Turk. Other students rejected imaginary groups, such as the Wallonians, Danireans, and Pirenians, even though no one could have had any unpleasant experiences with any representatives of these nonexistent populations (Hartley 1946). Contact and experience may cause prejudice to develop, but they probably play no important role in many cases.
Role of language. It has been suggested that prejudices may also be learned through the linguistic habits of a community. The common association in many parts of the world between “white” and purity or honor (“that is white of you”) and between “black” and dirt or evil (“he has a black heart”) may create attitudes that are difficult to overcome. Less clear in their impact are expressions such as “to jew him down”; “nigger in the woodpile”; the Chinese reference to Europeans as “foreign devils”; the French ivre comme un polonais; or the Italian fare il portoghese, said when one enters a streetcar or a theater without paying.
Roots of the tradition. All of these aspects of learning are important, but they are limited in their implications to the acquisition of attitudes already current in the community. They help us to understand the development of prejudice in children as they become “socialized” and absorb the prevailing cultural traditions. They leave open the question (as in connection, with the frustration-aggression hypothesis discussed above) as to how the tradition of prejudice arose in the first place.
Fear of the stranger. Ethnological accounts of preliterate peoples have indicated with some frequency a fear of the stranger and the development of hostility as a consequence. This is by no means universal, however; Hooton even considered it relatively rare. He wrote: “Primitive people are probably not race conscious to the deplorable or laudable extent which is characteristic of civilized populations. I mean that they are rather naively free from race prejudice until they have learned it from bitter experience. The American Indian was ready to take the European literally to his arms until he found out that a civilized embrace was inevitably throttling” (1937, p. 143).
Historical factors. In the form in which prejudice is found in contemporary cultures, many different contributing influences may be recognized, all of which have a relatively long history. From the viewpoint of the whites, the facts of slavery and colonization must at least have reinforced— if they did not create—the notion of a racial hierarchy, with the darker peoples occupying an inferior position. Sometimes this went so far, as in the case of certain Spanish writers during the conquest of America, as to deny to American Indians the same humanity as that of their conquerors; more mildly, but with somewhat the same consequences, the British spoke of the “white man’s burden” and the French of their mission civilisatrice, often expressed with the utmost sincerity but clearly implying the superiority of white culture and white people.
Historical factors are of great importance in this connection, and the contribution of the historian is needed at various points in this analysis. In some parts of the world relations between ethnic groups have taken a much more favorable turn, and prejudice has played only a minor role. In Hawaii, for example, Adams (1937) indicates that when white men served as advisers to the king, they were occasionally honored by receiving permission to marry ladies of the court. This set a pattern of ethnic friendliness which was later extended to other groups as well. It became impossible to set up any strict “racial” line because so many members of prominent families had intermarried. In the case of Brazil, where there is some degree of prejudice that tends to follow class lines but only a fraction of that found elsewhere, Freyre (1933) suggests a number of reasons for the relatively more friendly attitude. In the first place, the Portuguese who settled in Brazil had had centuries of contact with darker-skinned conquerors, namely the Moors, which predisposed them to a friendly and even respectful attitude. They developed an attraction for the “enchanting Mooress” which was extended to other women of darker complexion, thus encouraging intermarriage with Indian and later with Negro women. This was facilitated by the fact that Portuguese men migrated to Brazil for the most part without their families, in contrast to the settlers in most of North America. In addition, the fact that Brazil liberated its slaves peaceably and not as a consequence of civil war undoubtedly contributed to an earlier and smoother transition to a new relationship. Clearly, the history of ethnic contacts within a particular country helps to account for the pattern of acceptance or rejection prevalent today.
Religious factors. In the case of one variety of prejudice which in recent times has been exhibited in the most virulent and extreme form, namely anti-Semitism, it seems clear that in its origins religious considerations have played a dominant role. (Negro slavery, too, has been justified by an appeal to the Bible.) The story of the New Testament as told to succeeding generations of children has left an imprint of ancient Jewish wickedness which has frequently been extended to the Jewish group as a whole (Glock & Stark 1966). This is true to some extent even in religious teaching today, although many attempts are being made to present a less biased and more objective picture (Olson 1963). [SeeAnti-Semitism.]
Religious identification may be relatively less significant to most people now than it was in the Middle Ages, but the climate of opinion created by past teaching is removed with difficulty even when circumstances have changed. Here, as elsewhere, the strength of “social lag”—the continuance of institutions and traditions even when they are no longer appropriate—is not to be discounted.
Nationalism. Another significant factor associated with prejudice is the growth of nationalism and of feelings of national identity. Huxley and Haddon wrote: “A ‘nation’ has been cynically but not inaptly defined as a ‘society united by a common error as to its origin and a common aversion to its neighbours’ “(1936, p. 5). This aversion may be directed to different objects, and as has already been indicated social identity may be attached to a variety of characteristics, including language, religion, or any other symbol of demarcation. National identification is glorified as a means to social solidarity, to participation in a common enterprise, and to “belonging.” Unfortunately, however, a “healthy” nationalism easily moves into an exaggerated chauvinism which is not only for “us” but against “them.” Considerable research has indicated that this kind of hypernationalism is usually accompanied by ethnocentric prejudice (Adorno et al. 1950). Why it has developed in certain regions and at certain times, and why it has taken one form rather than another, are questions difficult to answer.
Economic factors. The analysis of the causes of prejudice has so far stressed the historical process related to ideas of “race,” religion, and nationalism and to the manner in which the resulting patterns of prejudice and hostility are “taught” to individuals. Research clearly indicates, however, that learning occurs most readily and most efficiently when it is motivated and when it is accompanied by certain satisfactions which reinforce the learning process. In the case of prejudice, perhaps the most important reinforcement comes from the gains that appear to result, the practical ends to which prejudice and discrimination may lead. Among these ends, it is highly probable that economic gain plays a dominant role; for some theorists (Marxists or economic determinists) it constitutes the single significant factor. Prejudice and discrimination enable the dominant group to maintain others in a state of subservience, to exploit them, to treat them as slaves or serfs, to reduce their power to compete on equal terms for jobs, and to keep them “in their place.” Gains and advantages other than economic may also enter, however. There may be a gain in status or prestige, permitting the humblest member of the dominant group to feel superior to the most successful among those who belong to the minority or to rejoice, through identification with his nation, in the subjugation of others through colonization, even when the consequence is economic loss rather than profit. There may be a gain from the point of view of self-image when, in times of misfortune or adversity, the blame can be placed on outsiders who serve as scapegoats; it is they, not we, who are responsible.Finally, less important today than in the past, there may be a sexual gain, when men of the dominant group have access to women of the minority, often with severely enforced taboos against the reverse relationship.
Rationalization. One of the striking aspects of the use of prejudice and discrimination as means toward these practical goals is that the underlying motive is so rarely recognized. Psychoanalysis has made us all familiar with the mechanism of rationalization, which in this context is characterized by the tendency to persuade ourselves that our actions stem from the loftiest ethical and even religious considerations rather than from anything as base as the desire for gain. This was briefly mentioned above in connection with the “white man’s burden” and similar formulations. They, whom we keep in an inferior position, are happier than they would be otherwise; they, whom we persecute because of their beliefs, can be saved only if they accept the true (that is to say, our) religion; they, whom we destroy, are planning to destroy us, and we are simply exercising the right to protect ourselves. It is arguments like these, presented in all sincerity, which so often in the past, and not so rarely in the present, have given to men the conviction that what they are doing is somehow noble and beautiful and that, in Hooton’s telling phrase, they “can rape in righteousness and murder in magnanimity” (1937, p. 151).
The fact remains that under the same cultural conditions, surrounded by the same institutions and tempted by the same desire for gain, some people show prejudice and others do not. This has suggested that the key to the development of prejudice may be found in personality, and an extensive amount of research has been directed toward this aspect of the problem. The most important single study is undoubtedly The Authoritarian Personality (Adorno et al. 1950). One major finding was a verification of the results of earlier research indicating that prejudices tend to go together: those individuals who disliked Jews were also likely to dislike Negroes, Mexicans, and “foreigners” in general. The use of a series of scales or questionnaires demonstrated a positive correlation between ethnocentrism and (a) politicoeconomic conservatism, (b) chauvinism (labeled “pseudopatriotism”), and (c) “fascism” as measured by the F-scale. The F-scale has been widely used in subsequent research, and some serious methodological questions have been raised about its application–for example, the failure to take into account the tendency of certain subjects to answer the questions in an “acquiescent” direction, the fact that higher education and socioeconomic status are negatively correlated with the scale, and so on. On the whole however, the F-scale is considered to have made a valuable contribution toward the understanding of the prejudiced personality. It has also been applied with interesting results in countries other than the United States (Christie & Cook 1958).
The ethnocentric personality. More intensive analysis of prejudiced individuals, conducted as part of the same study, has indicated the following pattern of characteristics: the ethnocentric person is a conformist; he sees the world as menacing and unfriendly; he exalts his own group; he is fundamentally anxious and insecure; he blames others for his own faults and misfortunes; he appears to worship his parents but has strong repressed hostility toward them; he divides the world into the weak and the strong, has a well-developed concern for status, and is willing to obey those above him in the status hierarchy but demands obedience from those below. (Some aspects of this description suggest that the prejudiced person is pathological. This interpretation is justified in some cases but certainly not in all; it is only when authoritarianism is extreme that the inference of psychological maladjustment becomes reasonable.)
A major criticism of this important study is its relative neglect of social and cultural factors. Research has shown that groups may be high in ethnocentrism if their culture includes lines of demarcation strictly enforced by custom or by law, as in South Africa or the southern United States, without being particularly “authoritarian” (Pettigrew 1958). The fact remains that personality does exert an important influence, even though it must be seen as acting in conjunction with the historical and sociological factors mentioned above. Prejudice is multidimensional (Klineberg 1964; Williams 1964). Different individuals may develop prejudice for different reasons and frequently for more than one reason. Nor should these various possible causes be considered as independent: they interact, are interrelated, and influence one another. The search for a single, all-embracing origin for prejudice is chimerical. [SeePersonality, Political, article onConservatism and radicalism.]
Varieties of prejudice
It follows that prejudice is not a unitary phenomenon and that it will take varying forms in different individuals. Socially and psychologically attitudes differ depending on whether they are the result of deep-seated personality characteristics, sometimes of a pathological nature, or of a traumatic experience, or whether they simply represent conformity to an established social norm. No adequate typology of forms of prejudice is yet available, and since there will always be intervening and transitional varieties, perhaps no such typology will ever be fully acceptable.
Earlier it was indicated that three aspects of prejudice must be distinguished in the definition: the cognitive or ideational, the affective, and the conative or behavioral. The frequent lack of consistency among these three aspects or components has suggested one typology of attitudes (including prejudice). Katz and Stotland (1959), for example, distinguish between (1) affective associations, (2) intellectualized attitudes, and (3) action-oriented attitudes. In the case of the first two, no accurate prediction regarding behavior is possible; in the third, both the cognitive and affective elements may be absent. In addition there are (4) balanced attitudes, which show consistency among the three components. This is helpful as far as it goes, but it leaves out a number of the dimensions identified above as contributing to the development of prejudice and consequently to the forms which it takes in different individuals.
The effects of prejudice
In his discussion of the place of the American Negro—or, as he prefers to say, the Negro American—in contemporary society, one social psychologist (Pettigrew 1964) speaks of the role and its burdens. There is much evidence that these burdens are varied and heavy. They are revealed in a pattern of objective life conditions that include considerable poverty and overcrowding, a shorter life expectancy, poorer education, inferior facilities for recreation, more family disorganization, and other related characteristics described in the Dark Ghetto (Clark 1965). On the subjective side, it is difficult to overestimate the effects on personality of belonging to a group which is generally regarded as inferior and so treated. A series of investigations has revealed the frequency with which Negro children show their preference for white over black (as, for example, in the dolls they choose to play with) and the emotional shock which may accompany an experience that requires them to become openly aware of their own skin color. Although this shock may become somewhat attenuated with the years, the damage done to the self-image and self-esteem of such children must be viewed as exceedingly serious (Clark 1955; Pettigrew 1964). It is precisely this damage that was referred to in the unanimous Supreme Court decision of May 17, 1954 as one justification for finding that enforced school segregation violated the rights of Negro children and was therefore contrary to the principles of the American constitution. (A study in Säo Paulo, Brazil, indicated a moderate preference by Negro children for white dolls, but with none of the emotional reactions so frequent among children in the United States; see Ginsberg 1955.)
The expression “self-hatred” has occasionally been applied to the reaction of Negroes, Jews, and other minorities who attempt in one form or another to reject their ethnic identity. In its most extreme form, accompanied by a dislike of every reminder of such identity and by hostility which echoes that shown by the dominant group, the term “self-hatred” may possibly be applicable, except that it is the group rather than the self that is hated. There is a whole range of reactions, however, which may result from being identified with a group that is stigmatized as not only different but inferior; it is inappropriate to speak of “hatred” in the case of those who may more legitimately be described as reaching for identification with the larger community. The phenomenon is too complex to be adequately described as “self-hatred,” but the underlying psychological processes relating to rejection undoubtedly constitute great hazards to normal personality development. The relative frequency of Negro aggressive crime and the occasional outbursts of group violence are not too difficult to understand against this background of rejection.
The effects of prejudice on the dominant group are also clear, although more indirect. If one criterion of mental health is an adequate perception of reality (Jahoda 1958), free from distortions due to needs and wishes and including sensitivity in the understanding of other people, then prejudice obviously interferes with mental health. In any case, the economic and social waste consequent upon prejudice has a harmful effect on the whole community, majority and minority alike. The apparent gains resulting from prejudice and discussed above among its causes are more than offset by its real costs (Rose 1951).
The reduction of prejudice
The problem of the reduction of prejudice is part of the whole issue of attitude change and therefore involves the techniques of persuasion and propaganda, the effects of the mass media and of education, and other related phenomena. The present discussion will be limited to certain aspects which touch directly on prejudice, even though it must be recognized that in many cases these need to be seen against the background of attitude change in general. [SeeAttitudes, article onAttitude change; Persuasion.]
Effects of information
A great deal of thought and a substantial amount of research have been directed toward the question of whether information about minority groups contributes toward the reduction of prejudice. Since, as was indicated earlier, prejudice contains a cognitive component, it is reasonable to expect that improving the accuracy of that component should have a salutary effect. On the other hand, it is argued that purely informational campaigns will necessarily fail, since the target audience will select, accept, ignore, or even distort the meaning of the available content in order to keep it consonant with preconceptions. This is more likely to occur when the content is presented through the mass media and is somewhat less likely in the case of a “captive audience,” although even in the latter case there will by no means be a passive acceptance of what is offered. Research in this area is equivocal in its findings but appears to justify the conclusion that information is indeed useful to a limited degree (Airport 1954; Klineberg 1950). It has been suggested that although cultural differences among ethnic groups should not be neglected in the information presented, particular stress should be laid on cultural similarities and on the common aspects of human experience.
Scientific evidence. It has also been urged that special attention be given to the position, held by the overwhelming majority of biological and social scientists, that there is no acceptable proof of the inherent genetic inferiority of any ethnic group. Myrdal (1944) has called for an “educational offensive” to reduce the gap between the scientific and the popular position in this regard. There has in fact been a marked change in this direction in recent years. A trend study of public opinion in the United States analyzed answers to the question “In general, do you think that Negroes are as intelligent as white people–that is, can they learn things just as well if they are given the same education and training?” In 1942, 50 per cent of Northern whites answered “yes”; in 1963, the figure had risen to 80 per cent. In the South, 21 per cent said yes in 1942 and 60 per cent in 1963. This degree of change may well be described as revolutionary (Hyman & Sheatsley 1964).
Effects of religious training
A special problem is posed by the relation of religious education to prejudice. The paradoxical situation arises that although in many areas the leaders in the attack on prejudice have a religious motivation or are identified with religion as an institution, in general there appears to be slightly more prejudice among those who are “religious” than among those who are not (Allport 1954; Adorno et al. 1950). This probably indicates that religion means different things to different people–in certain cases a true involvement, in others an outward, superficial expression. The problem for religious educators is to instill loyalty to one’s faith while also emphasizing the brotherhood of man. It is not surprising that in the light of this difficult task the results of such education have so far been equivocal as far as prejudice is concerned. [SeeReligion, article onPsychological aspects.]
Effects of contact and cooperation
Contact between members of different ethnic communities has also had a positive effect under certain conditions. The earlier, rather naïve expectation that if only people came to know members of other ethnic groups friendlier relations would automatically result has given way to a more sophisticated understanding of the factors involved. It seems clear, first, that best results are obtained when contact occurs between persons of equal status; no amount of contact between a white boss and Negro workers will alter the prevailing stereotype or prepare the way for better understanding. When status is equal, on the other hand, a salutary effect may usually be expected. This was demonstrated in a series of investigations of attitude change consequent upon integrated housing in a number of Northern communities. A second important condition is that the two groups work together toward the realization of a common goal and that they depend upon each other for its realization. This was the case in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. When the two ethnic groups were mixed in the same military outfits, the attitudes of white soldiers and noncommissioned officers toward Negroes became much more favorable.
It is important to note that in these cases the contact was not deliberately chosen or even necessarily welcomed; it was imposed in the one case by housing authorities and in the other by the military command. The participants were presented with a fait accompli. It appears that this procedure works successfully in other situations as well, including school desegration, the hiring of Negro sales personnel in department stores, and so forth (Saenger 1953). It may at first sight seem paradoxical that in a democratic society such techniques should work in spite of the expression of contrary opinion. One could hazard a guess that the fait accompli is effective in those cases in which the attitudes are held with some degree of ambivalence, so that those involved are almost as willing to be pushed in the liberal as in the reactionary direction. The opposition to acceptance of Negroes in these situations is not so strong as to inhibit adaptation to a new status quo when that is introduced by respected authorities.
The value of creating opportunities for two hostile groups to work together in a cooperative enterprise has also been demonstrated in a series of important experiments (Oklahoma, University of …1961). An investigation in a boys’ camp showed that the introduction of common or “superordinate” goals which could be attained only through joint activity, in which each group depended on the other for success, had a significant effect in reducing hostility. It seems highly probable that similar techniques would work on a wider scale and not only within the microcosm of the experimental situation. What is not entirely clear is what would happen if the superordinate goal could not be reached. Would each group blame the other, with a consequent increase in tension? Or would the sympathy produced as a result of the common enterprise improve relations even in the case of failure? Further research is required in order to answer these questions.
Sociometry and psychotherapy
In the case of conflicts between small groups or individuals, certain techniques used in group dynamics and sociometry have frequently been found to be effective. Among these, taking the role of the other–putting oneself in the “enemy’s” place and attempting to see the problem from his viewpoint–represents a mechanism which may contribute to better understanding. A number of investigations, some of them specifically related to prejudice, indicate the value of this approach (Krech et al.  1962, pp. 259–261).
Much has also been written about prejudice as a form of pathology and therefore not susceptible to cure except by the methods of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. Such methods are probably the only ones that could reach the extreme bigot; but they can hardly be regarded as very practical, since bigots are unlikely to consider themselves ill and in need of treatment by a psychiatrist. It seems highly probable, however, that a system of child care which produces secure and mentally healthy individuals would reduce the frequency of bigots in the population.
Earlier it was indicated that prejudice and discrimination are causally related in circular fashion, each contributing to the origin and growth of the other. It would follow that prejudice can be reduced through an attack on discrimination and that a change in institutions would inevitably mean, in time, a change in attitudes. In the United States, at least, from this point of view the legal approach has constituted the major source of improvement in the position of the Negro, affecting his access to more adequate education, housing, transportation, employment, recreation, and political rights. The frequently heard objection “you can’t legislate against prejudice” becomes irrelevant, since one can legislate against discrimination, one of the causes of prejudice; in the case of decisions by the courts, the same effect can be produced not by new legislation but by so interpreting existing laws as to safeguard human rights. Not only in the United States but in many other countries as well, the rights of minorities have been expressly protected in national constitutions, and the full weight of the United Nations and of its specialized agencies, such as UNESCO, has been thrown into the campaign for the reduction of prejudice and discrimination, through both education and the law.
Institutions change as the result of many factors not necessarily legal in character. The recent history of the United States has been marked by a rapid transformation through the pressure of “sitins,” nonviolent resistance, protest meetings, a march on Washington, the impact of the international scene, and even by outbreaks of violence which, although they must be deplored, may still function as reminders of “the unfinished business of democracy.’ Not least in its influence has been the development of a new climate of opinion and a reaffirmation of the democratic belief in the rights of all human beings.
These occurrences do not mean that the problem of prejudice has been solved. The social lag referred to above will mean a continuation of the prejudiced attitudes of many long after the law and the collective conscience have declared them obsolete. There is, however, some ground for optimism as far as the United States is concerned. To the question “Do you think white students and Negro students should go to the same schools or to separate schools?”, a representative sample of American whites in 1942 included fewer than a third who favored school integration; in 1956 approximately one half favored it; in 1963, threefourths. In the South, the proportion was 2 per cent in 1942, 14 per cent in 1956, and 30 per cent in 1963 (Hyman & Sheatsley 1964). The trend is clear. There is reason to hope that it will continue and that it is symbolic of a slow but certain change in attitude. There is hope, too, in the fact that “authoritarians” are conformist. If prejudice becomes unfashionable, even the hard core of resistance to change may give way to progress.
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In a neutral sense “discrimination” means simply “the drawing of a distinction.” The criteria on which a distinction is based, however, may range from those widely accepted in a society as valid and legitimate to those generally regarded as in valid and inappropriate. Thus, in purely dictionary meanings, discrimination is “a faculty of nicely distinguishing; acute discernment,” and it is also “an unfair or injurious distinction.” A given act can be labeled as one or the other, not by its intrinsic nature, but only by referring to given standards.
Types of discrimination. With reference to human interaction we can think of the dictionary meanings of discrimination given above as falling along a continuum. Although no sharp lines can be drawn, it is useful to divide this continuum into three sectors on the basis of the extent to which norms are shared. Thus, at one end of the continuum is the type of differential treatment that is based on generally accepted standards of excellence or appropriateness (e.g., a legal distinction between child and adult, variation in privilege among castes in a stable caste system, or a rule of seniority that gives precedence to those with longer records of service). The second type is discrimination that is deemed invalid–that is, based on un acceptable criteria–by many members of a society because it violates primary customs and laws ye is regarded as acceptable by significant subgroups and supported by secondary norms (e.g., racial segregation in the United States or anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union). It is in this sense that Williams used the term: “Discrimination may be said to exist to the degree that individuals of a given group who are otherwise formally qualified are not treated in conformity with these nominally universal institutionalized codes” (1947, p. 39). Third, there are the distinctions drawn by individuals in violation of the established standards, customs, or laws, without subgroup support and lacking even secondary normative sanction (e.g., favored treatment of one student by a teacher).
In this article we shall deal with discrimination only in the second sense. One might call it “social discrimination,” in contrast with “normative discrimination” (legal or customary application of standards) on the one hand and “individual discrimination” (unsupported acts of differentiation) on the other.
Why should the same word be used to cover what appear to be such diverse facts? Part of the explanation can be found in the study of social change. Because needs and values change, distinctions accepted in law and custom at one time and place may become unacceptable in a different context. Since individuals and areas experience the change at different rates, what has become unacceptable to some remains acceptable to others. This is well illustrated by developments in race relations in the United States. In 1875 few persons believed that differential treatment of Negroes was discriminatory. The legal and constitutional norms were ambiguous, and custom largely supported segregation and other acts of differentiation. In 1896 some of the ambiguity was removed from the legal norms when the Supreme Court declared that segregation of public accommodations was legal only if facilities were equal. For nearly half a century, however, custom prevailed over law, and in most of the country segregation and inequality of treatment were the rule. During this period the situation was gradually redefined by the passage of civil rights laws in northern states, further court decisions demanding equality, and a growing belief that distinctions drawn on the basis of race were undesirable and immoral. In terms of our classification, racial discrimination began to shift from the normative to the social variety. By the 1960s further Supreme Court decisions, declaring even “separate but equal” facilities unacceptable, federal civil rights laws, and the growth of a substantial national consensus opposed to the use of race as a criterion of choice had established a nominally universal institutionalized norm relative to race relations.
Although the process of change continues, racial discrimination in the United States has not yet shifted to the third type: it still has subgroup support and justification from secondary norms; it is not an individual act of differentiation. Critical to the whole idea of social discrimination, it should be emphasized, is the fact that it is embedded in social structures and sustained by group practices even though it violates the dominant standards of the society. When the drawing of “an unfair or injurious distinction” has become a matter of scattered, individual acts unsupported by group memberships and standards, it loses a number of the important qualities of social discrimination: random individual acts of discrimination tend to scatter throughout the population; they do not pile up on particular groups, creating self-perpetuating justifications from the responses of those continually discriminated against. Individual discrimination does not split a society into two or more contending groups that defend different standards of morality and justice, and it is not passed along through normal processes of socialization. In the life of a society, therefore, a move along the range from social toward individual patterns of discrimination is of great significance.
Social discrimination (hereafter simply called discrimination) is, then, the persistent application of criteria that are arbitrary, irrelevant, or unfair by dominant standards, with the result that some persons receive an undue advantage and others, although equally qualified, suffer an unjustified penalty. When comparing those who are advantaged with those who are disadvantaged, one can speak of discrimination as “the unequal treatment of equals,” for example, the application of quotas for university admission on the basis of group membership rather than individual qualification or the determination of eligibility for a job on grounds of race or religion instead of competence. When only those who are being discriminated against are considered, it is also useful to reverse this phrase and to speak of the “equal treatment of unequals”: the members of disprivileged groups are treated alike despite variation in their competence, training, or other personal characteristics.
Discrimination is an analytic concept, not a moral term. Some manifestations of violence or persecution may be so established in custom that they are best understood as a different kind of phenomenon, despite the moral repugnance with which those who do not accept the custom may view the facts. Or to put the matter differently, discrimination acquires moral relevance when its consequences are measured against stated values. This statement does not mean, however, that there is no basis of choice between those who say that a given discriminatory practice is good and those who say that it is bad. The use of some criteria of discrimination may contradict fundamental values of a society and weaken its unity. For example, a democracy based on equality before the law and other universalistic norms is weakened by discrimination on racial, religious, or ethnic grounds. Thus, one can say that certain practices are morally incongruent with societal well-being in a democracy.
The relation of discrimination to prejudice. Among the many questions one might raise in the study of discrimination, four seem of special importance: What is its relationship to prejudice? What criteria are used to determine those to be discriminated against? What forms does the discrimination take? What are its effects on the objects of discrimination?
Prejudice can be defined as an inner tendency to respond to persons on the basis of their group membership; it is a rigid, emotional prejudgment that gives an individual confidence that he knows all about a person when he knows his membership in a symbolically important group. This tendency may or may not express itself in discriminatory behavior on the part of a person, depending upon the role he is playing, what others around him are saying and doing, what he believes he will gain or lose by discrimination, and other factors. Each individual has many attitudes, only some of which will be expressed in a given situation. Thus, his prejudice may be inhibited, deflected, or manifested, depending upon the context. In contrast, a person lacking in prejudice may nevertheless discriminate if he believes that thereby he may win an advantage or protect himself against loss; he may discriminate as an expression of his solidarity with the group with which he is identified at the moment.
Patterns of discrimination The criteria used for setting apart those against whom discrimination is directed vary widely. The growth of nations to include persons of diverse origins and the mobility of men in the modern world have brought individuals of many religions, races, national origins, and native languages into close contact. Which of the differences is symbolically important depends to a large degree on the history of the contact and the basic values of dominant groups. Discrimination against Jews in many countries, most disastrously in Germany (see Hilberg 1961), has been based in part on their status as a religious minority but has gained in strength by the convergence of several symbols. Thus, many peasants saw the Jews as city dwellers, ruling groups saw them as threatening radicals, and the middle classes saw them as powerful competitors. In the United States the economic importance of slavery and the violence associated with its elimination were important factors in making race a basis for discrimination. In India the disprivileges resting upon caste status are now legally and constitutionally proscribed, but some religious norms and traditions support continuing patterns of discrimination. In France racial and religious differences are relatively unimportant, but the person unskilled in the French language and poorly assimilated into French culture is seriously handicapped. In some situations cultural differences between groups are sufficiently sharp so that it is not clear whether one is dealing with a case of discrimination within a society or a case of cultural conflict between subsocieties, as in the case of the restrictions imposed on the Tamils by the Singhalese of Ceylon.
In addition to discrimination based upon religion, race, national origin, and culture, lines of distinction may be drawn by age (a person is “too young” or “too old,” despite qualifications for a position), by sex, by occupation, or by class (see International Labor Office 1962). One may even be discriminated against on grounds of his ancestor’s occupation or class, as shown by the segregation of the eta in Japan or by the preference given in many situations to a person from an “old” upperclass family over the nouveau riche.
The forms of discrimination are as various as the criteria on which they are based. Perhaps the three most important types are restriction on social mobility (denial of opportunity), restriction on physical mobility (segregation), and barriers to the acquisition of full self-respect and intrapsychic harmony (such as demands for arbitrary status deference). These often occur together, of course, and are mutually reinforcing, but they may be found separately. One sees them in the extreme form in South Africa, where nonwhites are barred from political participation, educational opportunities, and many jobs; are residentially segregated; and are compelled to carry status-defining passes. Much of this discrimination is “legal” in South Africa, in the strict sense of the term; but since more than three-quarters of the population cannot participate in the definition of legality and protest its validity, the activities there are appropriately described as social discrimination rather than normative discrimination.
Discrimination as a system of social relationships is affected by the responses of the individuals and groups experiencing it. In the first instance it “vitiates the power and knowledge of its victim” (Antonovsky 1960), thus creating tendencies by which still further discrimination is justified. Those who are given poor schools, poor jobs, and poor opportunities for advancement may demonstrate low morale, low skill, and high resentment, which then become the “causes” of further discrimination. Such self-fulfilling prophecies or vicious circles (Maclver 1948; Myrdal 1944) help to explain the tenacity of many patterns of social discrimination.
Since even the definition of discrimination is still problematic, efforts to scale and measure it and to record precisely the conditions under which various forms occur have been scarce. Fortunately, this situation is beginning to change. Careful studies of the economic consequences of discrimination (e.g., Becker 1957; Krueger 1963), of the exact patterns of segregation (Taeuber & Taeuber 1965; Williams 1964), and of the salience of various forms of discrimination for different groups (Killian & Grigg 1961), as well as more formal conceptualizations of discrimination (Blalock 1960), are indicators of a growing precision in discussions of this topic.
The international perspective. In the modern era discrimination has become an international problem. At the very time when many patterns of discrimination are brought under severe challenge within societies, these patterns are affecting relationships between societies. Achievement of a merely national consensus on what is fair and just proves to be inadequate at a time when the fates of nations are bound so closely together. Should women have equal rights in Iraq? Should all religions be allowed free expression in Spain? Should the advantages of hereditary social classes in South America be reduced? Should Australia modify its all-white immigration laws? Should persons of Mexican descent receive equitable treatment in the United States? Should persons of European descent hold full citizenship in the newly independent African states? Societies are being judged on such questions more and more on the basis of “outside” criteria; there are the beginnings of an international set of standards in the light of which many practices that carry powerful (if not universal) support within nations have become controversial. Viewed from this international perspective, discrimination is on the increase in the sense that formerly customary practices are being denned as arbitrary and unfair. Stated in terms of the continuum suggested above, many acts are being shifted from normative to social discrimination as international contacts and standards grow in importance. Perhaps the separate societies are going through a necessary and inevitable process out of which will emerge more nearly universal standards in a world abruptly made small.
J. Milton Yinger
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"Prejudice." International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. (March 28, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/applied-and-social-sciences-magazines/prejudice-0
"Prejudice." International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. . Retrieved March 28, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/applied-and-social-sciences-magazines/prejudice-0
The concept of prejudice emerged during the early twentieth century and soon became the most prominent social scientific and lay concept to describe antipathy for others based on their social group or category membership. Social scientists have typically defined prejudice as a negative intergroup attitude. Many, however, have added the rider that this negative intergroup attitude is bad or unjustified in some way, and it is this broader concept that has been entrenched in lay discourse. This conceptualization raises several issues. One is whether it is indeed possible to distinguish between negative intergroup attitudes that are prejudiced (that is, bad or unjustified) and those that are not. A second issue is that of the structure and dimensionality of these negative intergroup attitudes, a third is whether there are different types or kinds of prejudice, and a fourth is that of how prejudice has been explained and understood.
Prejudice: Social Problem, or Problem Concept
The perspective of prejudice as a "bad" or "unjustified" attitude arises out of the social-problems approach to the study of intergroup relations, which was prominent for much of the twentieth century. This perspective implied a distinction between those intergroup attitudes that were socially problematic and those that were not, and only the former qualified as prejudice per se. For example, George Simpson and J. Milton Yinger, in their influential handbook Racial and Cultural Minorities: An Analysis of Prejudice and Discrimination (1985), write that "for a democrat to be prejudiced against communists and fascists is different from his being prejudiced against Japanese—not entirely different, to be sure, but sufficiently so to require separation in vocabularies (for example, prejudice 1 and prejudice 2). It is the latter type that is the subject of this book" (p. 22).
But how do negative intergroup attitudes that are prejudiced differ from negative intergroup attitudes that are not prejudiced? A number of possible differences have been proposed. It has been suggested that prejudiced intergroup attitudes involve a faulty or incorrect generalization, that they involve rigid or inflexible attitudes, that they are overgeneralized attitudes, that they are irrational attitudes, that they justify discrimination, that they are attitudes that are not based on actual experience, that they are attitudes that are not based on objective evidence, and that they are unjust attitudes.
The problem with this pejorative concept of prejudice is that no evidence has ever shown that those negative intergroup attitudes viewed by social scientists as prejudiced are actually any more rigid, inflexible, irrational, any more based on faulty or incorrect generalizations, and any less based on real experience and objective evidence than negative intergroup attitudes not viewed as prejudiced. The distinction therefore has tended to reside purely in the belief, sometimes explicit but more commonly implicit, that these negative intergroup attitudes are "unjust" without any further specification in observable or measurable terms. The attribution "unjust" has therefore been purely a value judgment that is inevitably influenced by the beliefs, group membership, and biases of the person making it as well as the social and historical circumstances. For example, Simpson and Yinger's suggestion that a democrat's dislike of communists may be justified but not a dislike of Japanese may have seemed reasonable to American social scientists in the 1970s but might not have seemed as reasonable during World War II, when the Soviet Union and the United States were allies in the war against Japan.
Because the idea of prejudice as a bad or unjustified negative intergroup attitude has never had any empirical basis and therefore has not been empirically measurable, the body of knowledge that has emerged on the topic of "prejudice" actually consists of research on intergroup attitudes. Because of the social-problems perspective, social scientists have focused most of their attention on attitudes toward those social or ethnic groups, particularly minorities, which they have viewed as being the targets of unjustified negative attitudes and discrimination. Thus during the twentieth century first anti-Semitism and then antiblack racism were particular foci of attention.
There is no evidence, however, that the nature and dynamics of these "unjustified" negative intergroup attitudes toward minorities differ from negative attitudes that might be held by these minorities against majorities or indeed from any other negative intergroup attitudes, whether seen as "justified' or "unjustified."
This problem with prejudice as a pejorative concept might be one reason why the term "prejudice" has been less used in the social-science literature on intergroup relations and attitudes since the last two decades of the twentieth century. When it has been used, it has also tended to be defined in an ostensibly neutral and nonpejorative manner, as simply referring to "negative intergroup attitudes" (Duckitt, 1992, pp. 15, 18), though the implication that these attitudes are "unjustified" has tended to remain, particularly in lay discourse. This shift toward defining prejudice in nonpejorative and ostensibly neutral terms has also paralleled a move away from the social-problems perspective of prejudice and the emergence of the cognitive approach to studying intergroup relations in psychology. This cognitive approach has viewed intergroup biases and stereotyping as being rooted in universal human cognitive processes rather than as pathological or abnormal phenomena.
The Structure of Intergroup Attitudes
Given that prejudice is conceptualized as a negative intergroup attitude, the issue of the structure and dimensionality of these negative intergroup attitudes arises. Social psychologists have distinguished three distinct components of prejudice or ways in which negative intergroup attitudes can be expressed or manifested. These are in the form of negative stereotypes (cognitive component) of the target group, negative feelings (affective component) toward the target group, and negative behavioral inclinations (behavioral component) toward the target group. Each of these components of negative intergroup attitudes will be briefly considered below.
Stereotypes and prejudice.
Contemporary social scientists typically define stereotypes as beliefs about the personal characteristics of a group or category of people. In contrast to traditional approaches that saw stereotypes as necessarily incorrect, irrational, rigid, or faulty in some way, stereotypes in the early twenty-first century are seen as arising out of normal and adaptive cognitive processes, such as categorization, which function to reduce the complexity of social information processing. An important conclusion from research within this new approach has been that stereotypes function as generalized expectancies about social categories or groups, which bias the perception of and behavior toward individual members of those groups so as to maintain the stereotype and generate behavioral confirmation of it.
Stereotyping per se, however, does not necessarily involve prejudice. Out-group stereotypes can be evaluatively positive, neutral, or negative. Only evaluatively negative stereotypes are usually viewed as expressive of prejudiced attitudes. But how important are negative stereotypes as an expression of prejudice?
It has been widely assumed that negative stereotypes should be strongly associated with other expressions of prejudice, such as negative feelings or affect toward the target group or discriminatory behavior toward and behavioral avoidance of the target group. The evidence, however, does not seem to support this. John Brigham's review of research on stereotyping concluded that negative stereotypes and prejudice were only weakly and inconsistently related. Later research has come to similar conclusions. A meta-analysis of thirty hypothesis tests from twelve different studies indicated that American whites' evaluative stereotypes of blacks correlated positively but only weakly with whites' overall racial attitudes and very weakly with indices of discriminatory behavior toward blacks (Dovidio et al.). These findings suggest therefore that negative stereotypes may not be as important a component of prejudice as has been frequently assumed.
Intergroup affect and prejudice.
Although psychologists had originally believed that negative affect or feelings of dislike for out-groups were the central core of prejudice, in the 1970s their emphasis began to shift toward cognitive aspects of prejudice, such as categorization and stereotyping. However, during the 1990s several influential commentaries suggested a possible shift back to an emphasis on affect as central to intergroup attitudes, behavior, and relations. For example, Susan Fiske has suggested that prejudice should be conceptualized specifically as negative intergroup affect. Eliot R. Smith has also proposed a theory suggesting that when group identity is salient, the way in which people appraise intergroup contexts or relationships generates particular feelings about out-groups, and it is these "social emotions" that constitute prejudice and determine intergroup behavior.
Research has also suggested that affect toward out-groups may be the most critical component of prejudiced attitudes. Charles Stangor et al. found that affective responses to national, ethnic, and religious groups were clearly better predictors of general favorability toward and social distance from these groups than the stereotypes held about those groups. The aforementioned meta-analysis by John Dovidio et al. found that affective prejudice toward blacks correlated more strongly with discriminatory behavior toward blacks than did the stereotypes of blacks. Empirical research therefore seems to support those, such as Smith and Fiske, who have argued that the feeling or affective component of prejudice is its most central and critical aspect.
Behavioral expressions of prejudice: Social distance, discrimination, and violence.
While social psychologists have primarily studied the cognitive, perceptual, and affective aspects of prejudice, sociologists have devoted more attention to its behavioral expressions, in the form of peoples' intentions and dispositions to behave negatively to out-group members. The most studied behavioral expressions of prejudice have probably been social distance preferences (behavioral avoidance) and discriminatory behavior. Interestingly, intentional acts of serious violence against individuals because of their group or category membership, or "hate crimes," have been much less studied.
Social distance is typically measured using variants of a questionnaire originally developed by Emory Bogardus in 1925, which asked about people's willingness to have personal contact of varying degrees of intimacy ("close kinship by marriage," "in my street as neighbors," "employment in my occupation," "citizenship in my country") with members of particular ethnic groups. An important finding from social-distance research has been of the relatively consensual or normative nature of prejudice within societies. Numerous studies have documented a hierarchy of social-distance preferences in the United States that is widely accepted and has remained remarkably stable over much of the twentieth century. At the top of this hierarchy are fair-skinned North European peoples, followed by East and South Europeans, then Asian peoples, and finally African peoples at the bottom. Even low-ranking minorities accept the hierarchy, except for their own group, which they rank high.
Louk Hagendoorn's comparative research on the social-distance hierarchies within a number of West and East European societies confirmed that these hierarchies are highly consensual within social groups. They also tend to be consensual across groups within particular societies, except when there are sharp ideological or cultural cleavages within the society, in which case the conflicting groups might disagree on the hierarchy. This was the case, for example, for Islamic versus non-Islamic groups in several countries from the former Soviet Union.
The existence of pervasive discrimination against groups that are the targets of prejudice has been extensively documented. For example, Thomas F. Pettigrew has reviewed the substantial body of research on high levels of prejudice against and discrimination toward the new immigrant minorities of western Europe. Numerous studies have shown the existence of pervasive discrimination against blacks in the United States, despite apparent declines in overt prejudice.
It is interesting that at the group level there seems to be a strong tendency for those groups who are negatively stereotyped and the targets of prejudiced affect to be most discriminated against. This contrasts with the weak relationship obtained between discriminatory behavior and negative stereotypes and the moderate one between discriminatory behavior and intergroup affect at the individual difference level.
Aggression and violence toward out-group members constitute more extreme behavioral expressions of prejudice. Numerous studies have documented the long history of violence against blacks in the United States, and Pettigrew has described the late-twentieth-century and early twenty-first-century up-surge in anti-immigrant violence in western Europe. Much attention has therefore focused on the conditions that lead to prejudice being expressed in violence. Early findings suggesting a correlation between lynching of blacks in the American South and economic hardship have not been supported by subsequent reanalyses and new data. Nor has clear evidence emerged of a relationship between unemployment and hate crimes. Instead, ecological studies have suggested that xenophobic reactions might be particularly likely in situations where "established groups confront outsiders whose growing numbers and social practices challenge the preexisting hierarchy in which they occupied a favorable position" (Green et al., p. 430).
The Varieties of Prejudice
While prejudiced intergroup attitudes should always involve cognitive, affective, and behavioral expressions in the form of unfavorable stereotypes, feelings of antipathy, and behavioral expressions of prejudice, a somewhat different issue is that of whether different kinds or forms of prejudice exist. This idea originated from research in the United States, which suggested that two different kinds of racism existed there, with one having a more traditional or overt form and the other a newer, more modern, or more subtle form.
Traditional racism and the new racisms.
Several theories have proposed that a new more covert or subtle kind of racism emerged in the United States after the desegregation of the South—a form of racism that supplemented or supplanted an older more traditional form characterized by beliefs in black biological inferiority, white supremacy, and the desirability of segregation and formal discrimination. Some important empirical findings stimulated the emergence of these theories. First, findings indicated that despite survey evidence of sharp declines in whites' racial prejudice after the early 1960s, anti-black discrimination and racial inequality did not show corresponding decreases. Second, many ostensibly nonprejudiced whites expressed strong opposition to policies designed to reduce these inequalities. And third, research also indicated that whites' overtly friendly behavior to blacks or apparently non-prejudiced questionnaire responses could be accompanied by covert negative affect revealed by subtle indicators such as voice tone and seating distance or revealed when they were hooked up to a simulated lie detector (the bogus pipeline technique).
There have been four main approaches to this new racism: symbolic or modern racism, subtle versus blatant prejudice, ambivalent racism, and aversive racism. These four approaches have varied in their conceptualization of this new racism, but their essential features seem similar. The most important of these approaches is that termed symbolic or modern racism by David Sears. It has been described as a blending of antiblack affect with traditional Protestant ethic and conservative values. Thus blacks are disliked because they are seen as violating basic moral values, such as self-reliance, individual responsibility, and the work ethic. The modern racism scale was developed to measure this dimension and has tended to be highly correlated with measures of traditional racism yet factorially distinct from them. Numerous studies have found that the modern racism scale is a markedly more powerful predictor of whites' racial policy preferences and candidate preferences in racialized election campaigns than measures of traditional racism, political preference, or conservative ideology.
The second approach to the new racism was subsequently developed by Pettigrew and Roel Meertens, who constructed a set of scales to measure constructs very similar to symbolic and traditional racism that they have used extensively in European countries to measure prejudice against local minorities and outgroups. Their first component, "blatant prejudice," was assessed by subscales of "threat" and "rejection" and seems essentially equivalent to traditional racism. Their second component, "subtle prejudice," was assessed by three subscales of "defense of traditional values," "exaggeration of cultural differences," and "lack of positive affect," and is clearly similar to symbolic racism.
Third, Irwin Katz and R. Glen Hass took the new versus old racism distinction a step further by suggesting that white Americans' racial attitudes could involve not just a new symbolic or subtle racism but also racial ambivalence. Their findings suggested that many whites could simultaneously hold antiblack and problack attitudes, and the resulting ambivalence could account for highly polarized responses to blacks, with "desirable" behavior by blacks eliciting particularly positive responses and "undesirable" behavior eliciting particularly negative and discriminatory responses.
The fourth approach, that of aversive racism, also emphasizes ambivalence in American whites' attitudes to blacks, though in a somewhat different form. It proposes that most whites acquire egalitarian beliefs and a nonprejudiced self-image at an overt and conscious level. At the same time, however, their exposure to a society characterized by black-white differentiation and inequality generates underlying covert negative feelings to blacks. This ambivalence results in whites generally behaving in an overtly nondiscriminatory manner toward blacks in order to preserve their nonprejudiced self-images while also behaving in a discriminatory manner in more ambiguous situations where the discrimination can be rationalized away or excused.
The concept of new racisms has not been without controversy. Critics have asserted that symbolic racism has been conceptualized and measured inconsistently over time and that the varying themes identified with it have not yet been coherently articulated or adequately measured. It has also been suggested that the "new" racisms are not really different at all but simply more subtle and socially acceptable expressions of the same old racism.
Implicit and explicit prejudice.
During the 1990s the idea of the existence of new forms of prejudice was taken a step further. The distinction was now made between explicit prejudice, operating at a conscious level and therefore including both traditional and modern racisms, and implicit prejudice, which was assumed to be automatically activated by target persons and to operate largely unconsciously.
A variety of measures of implicit prejudice have been used. Some are indirect or covert behavioral indices of prejudice, such as linguistic biases, eye contact, or nonverbal behaviors, which could be subject to intentional control but typically would not be. Others are truly implicit measures of automatic cognitive or physiological responses that cannot readily be intentionally controlled. The most common have been "priming techniques," which measure how quickly positive or negative stereotypes can be activated after individuals are briefly exposed to a group or social category label, and variations of that procedure, such as the Implicit Association Test (IAT), which assesses how strong the temporal association is between a group or social category label and positively or negatively evaluative terms.
It was initially assumed that these implicit measures might provide more accurate information about peoples' real attitudes, but research findings have suggested a more complex picture. Generally whites have shown markedly greater negativity toward blacks on implicit measures of racism than on explicit measures, as would be expected. The difficulty with the concept of implicit prejudice, however, has been that different measures of implicit stereotyping and prejudice have tended to be only weakly correlated with each other, suggesting that they might not be measuring a single dimension at all, and they have also tended to be uncorrelated with explicit measures of prejudice or behavioral indices of discrimination.
One possible reason for the discrepancies between implicit and explicit measures is that they might reflect different response systems. Dovidio et al. have shown that automatically activated implicit evaluative stereotypes predict people's spontaneous interracial reactions (such as eye contact and rate of blinking) but not their more deliberative, controlled interracial judgments or behaviors (overtly expressed attitudes, interview evaluations, or judgments of guilt in simulated court cases). Explicit prejudice measures such as the modern racism scale on the other hand predicted deliberative responses but not spontaneous reactions.
Two theories of prejudice have been used to explain why there might be considerable discrepancies between individuals in their explicit and implicit prejudice against a particular group. Both suggest this discrepancy might arise from individuals acquiring values that motivate them to attempt to control prejudiced attitudes or stereotypes that were acquired earlier in socialization and that are therefore automatically activated by target persons. However, the nature of the values and motives proposed by the two theories differ in certain crucial respects. The theory of aversive racism suggests that many whites have underlying, covert racist attitudes but adopt and express egalitarian attitudes at an overt level in order to maintain a self-image of themselves as nonprejudiced and egalitarian. Because of their covert racism, they will act in discriminatory ways in situations in which they can rationalize or excuse it and will do so without guilt. Patricia Devine's theory suggests that whites acquire negative stereotypes of blacks during socialization. Later some whites come to internalize explicitly antiracist values, which are genuine and deeply held. As a result, their underlying and automatically activated prejudiced reactions engender guilt and are therefore inhibited whenever they are under conscious control.
These theories, and most of the research on implicit prejudice, have assumed that implicit prejudice and stereotypes are stable evaluative orientations that are automatically activated in response to stigmatized group members. Recent research, however, has shown that implicit prejudices seem to be malleable and fluid and to vary markedly in response to situational cues and motivational influences. Andrew Karpinski and James Hilton have therefore suggested that implicit attitudes reflect the evaluative associations with out-groups that people have been exposed to in their environment and not the degree to which they endorse these associations. One implication of this is that because these "implicit" associations have not been consciously articulated and organized in "explicit" form, the actual evaluative out-group associations elicited in any situation may be markedly influenced by the nature of the activating cues, procedures, and situation. This could explain the variability in implicit prejudice across situations and measuring techniques and the weak correlations between different implicit measures and between them and explicit measures of prejudice.
There have been a number of historical shifts in the dominant explanations of prejudice, and it is possible to identify six distinct periods in the way in which prejudice has been understood by social scientists. These paradigmatic shifts in explanation have been influenced by social and historical circumstances making particular questions or issues about the nature and causation of prejudice salient at the time as well as by empirical research findings. Different social-policy approaches to prejudice have therefore characterized each of these six periods. These six historical periods, their dominant theoretical and conceptual approaches to prejudice, and their social policy emphases are summarized in Table 1 and briefly described below.
Race theory: Up to the 1920s.
During this period, racist attitudes were largely viewed as natural responses of "advanced" Western peoples to "inferior" or "backward" colonial peoples or "racially different" minorities. These attitudes had their logical social-policy expressions in justifying the political domination of these "backward" peoples, their segregation (formal or informal), and discrimination against them.
Race prejudice: The 1920s and 1930s.
After World War I, however, as Western colonial rule was increasingly challenged and a black civil rights movement emerged in the United States, the idea of the inferiority of other "races" came to be rejected, at least by intellectual elites and social scientists. This stimulated a dramatic reversal in the way in which racist attitudes were conceptualized, from natural responses to the inferiority of other races to race prejudice—that is, as unjustified, unfair, and irrational negative intergroup attitudes.
The dominant explanation of prejudice that emerged during this period was the psychoanalytically derived frustration-displacement theory. This approach saw prejudice as an unconscious defense through which social stress and frustrations were displaced through the scapegoating of out-groups and minorities. This seemed to explain both the irrationality and unfairness of prejudice and its social pervasiveness.
This explanation of prejudice had its logical expression in the social policy of assimilation. The typical targets of prejudice and scapegoating were those viewed as different from and "less developed" (socioeconomically, culturally, ethnically) than the dominant majority. Thus assimilation of these minorities and colonial peoples would "civilize" or "uplift" them socially and economically, and with this, prejudice and discrimination against them should gradually erode.
Ideology and personality: The 1940s and 1950s.
After World War II the dominant explanation of prejudice shifted, driven largely by the need to explain the Holocaust and anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany. It did not seem conceivable that these could be acts of normal persons, so prejudice came to be seen as the expression of disturbed or authoritarian personalities propagating antidemocratic and authoritarian ideologies. The social-policy implication of this approach was that both racial and political tolerance would arise out of the spread of liberal democratic values and institutions and the defeat of authoritarianism in all its variants.
|Social and historical context and issues||Concept of prejudice and dominant theoretical approach||Dominant social policy orientation to prejudice and discrimination|
|Up to the 1920s: White domination and colonial rule of "backward peoples"||Prejudice as a natural response to the deficiencies of "backward" peoples: Race theories||Domination, discrimination, and segregation are natural and justified social policies|
|The 1920s and 1930s:The legitimacy of white domination and pervasive prejudice challenged||Prejudice as irrational and unjustified reaction to people who are different: Psychoanalytic and frustration theories||Assimilation as a gradual process as minorities and colonial peoples become westernized and "uplifted"|
|The 1940s and 1950s: Nazi racial ideology and the Holocaust||Prejudice rooted in anti-democratic ideology and pathological needs within authoritarian personalities||Democratic and anti-authoritarian social structures and values will erode intolerance and prejudice|
|The 1960s: The problem of institutionalized racism in the American South||Sociocultural explanations: Prejudice rooted in the social norms of discriminatory social structures||Desegregation and anti-discriminatory laws will lead to intergroup contact, which will erode prejudice|
|The 1970s: The problem of informal racism and discrimination in the North||Prejudice as an expression of dominant-group interests in maintaining intergroup inequality||Reducing intergroup inequality through affirmative action and minority empowerment|
|The 1980s to the 2000s: The stubborn persistence of stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination||Prejudice as an expression of universal cognitive-motivational processes: social categorization and social identity||Multicultural policies to provide minorities with esteem and foster positive nonthreatened identities and tolerance for all groups|
Culture and society: The 1960s.
At the end of the 1950s a new paradigm shift occurred, as public attention increasingly focused on the campaign for civil rights in the American South. It did not seem feasible to explain racism in the American South—where ordinary "good citizens" holding democratic values were racist and supported discrimination—in terms of disturbed or authoritarian personalities. The explanatory paradigm that emerged saw racial prejudice as rooted in social structures in which segregation and discrimination had been legally institutionalized and had become social norms that were taught to individuals during socialization and maintained by conformity pressures and lack of interracial contact.
The social policies necessary to reduce prejudice flowed logically from these assumptions. Segregation and discriminatory practices must be abolished. Schools and workplaces must be desegregated. The guiding principle was the "contact hypothesis": that racial segregation and unfamiliarity would perpetuate racial prejudice, while desegregation and intergroup contact under the right conditions would reduce it.
Group interests and racial inequality: The 1970s.
The optimistic assumption that racial integration would eliminate racism in American society rapidly faded in the late 1960s and the 1970s. As the institutionalized segregation and old-fashioned racism of the South disappeared, it was simply replaced by informal discrimination and segregation and the more subtle "modern" racism of the North. The paradigm that emerged saw racism and discrimination not just as a problem of the South but as being rooted in the power relations and inequality between white and black in American society as a whole.
The new paradigm of the 1970s therefore viewed racial prejudice as expressing the interests of the dominant white group in maintaining racial inequality and keeping blacks as a disadvantaged and powerless underclass. This was accompanied by a shift in the social policies most needed to reduce prejudice. To eliminate racism, the social, economic, and political inequalities between black and white would have to be changed, most notably through affirmative action and the political empowerment of blacks in American society.
Group identity and multiculturalism: The 1980s and beyond.
By the late 1970s the stubborn persistence of American racism and discrimination, albeit in subtle and modern rather than crude and traditional forms, had been powerfully documented. In addition research findings have shown that simply classifying individuals in completely arbitrary "minimal" groups results in them engaging in intergroup discrimination and in-group favoritism. During the 1980s it began to seem that more fundamental and perhaps universal cognitive and motivational human processes might underlie intergroup bias, discrimination, and even prejudice. The social-cognitive approach that emerged then and became the dominant approach to understanding intergroup relations and attitudes saw universal human cognitive processes functioning to simplify the social world through social categorization, that is, classifying people as group or category members and stereotyping them as members of their groups or categories. Categorization would also result in people identifying with their social groups and categories to form valued social identities, which they would then be motivated to try to differentiate positively from others generating intergroup competition and in-group favoritism.
The inevitability of group differentiation and its expression in distinct group identities challenged the explicit or implicit assimilationist assumptions underlying policies such as integration and even affirmative action. Multicultural policies emerged logically from this new paradigm. These policies rest on a view of cultural and social diversity as both inevitable and valuable in their own right and have the explicit objectives of accepting, recognizing, and supporting subcultural and minority identities and tolerance for them.
A number of different theoretical approaches to explaining prejudice dominated social scientific inquiry at different stages during the twentieth century with each having distinctive social policy implications. These different approaches seemed to emerge in response to specific historical circumstances that made particular questions about the nature or causation of prejudice salient for social scientists. The study of prejudice has therefore provided an interesting case study in how values and social milieu interact with and influence social scientific concepts and explanations.
See also Apartheid ; Discrimination ; Diversity ; Race and Racism ; Segregation ; Social History, U.S.
Brigham, John. "Ethnic Stereotypes." Psychological Bulletin 76 (1971): 15–38.
Crosby, Faye, and Susan Clayton. "Affirmative Action and the Issue of Expectancies." Journal of Social Issues 46 (1990): 61–79.
Devine, Patricia. "Implicit Prejudice and Stereotyping: How Automatic Are They?" Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 81 (2001): 757–759.
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Dovidio, John, et al. "Stereotyping, Prejudice, and Discrimination: Another Look." In Stereotypes and Stereotyping, edited by Neil Macrae, Charles Stangor, and Miles Hewstone, 276–319. New York: Guilford, 1996.
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Fiske, Susan T. "Stereotyping, Prejudice, and Discrimination." In The Handbook of Social Psychology, 4th ed., edited by Daniel Todd Gilbert, Susan T. Fiske, and Gardner Lindzey, vol. 2, 357–411. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1998.
Gaertner, Samuel L., and John F. Dovidio. "The Aversive Form of Racism." In Prejudice, Discrimination, and Racism, edited by John F. Dovidio and Samuel L. Gaertner, 61–89. Orlando, Fla.: Academic, 1986.
Green, Donald P., Robert P. Abelson, and Margaret Garnett. "The Distinctive Political Views of Hate-Crime Perpetrators and White Supremacists." In Cultural Divides: Understanding and Overcoming Group Conflict, edited by Deborah A. Prentice and Dale T. Miller, 429–464. New York: Russell Sage, 1999.
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Karpinski, Andrew, and James Hilton. "Attitudes and the Implicit Association Test." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 81 (2001): 744–788.
Katz, Irwin, and R. Glen Hass. "Racial Ambivalence and American Value Conflict: Correlational and Priming Studies of Dual Cognitive Structures." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 55 (1988): 893–905.
Maass, Anne, Luigi Castelli, and Luciano Arcuri. "Measuring Prejudice: Implicit versus Explicit Techniques." In Social Identity Processes: Trends in Theory and Research, edited by Dora Capozza and Rupert Brown, 96–116. London: Sage. 2000.
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Pettigrew, Thomas F., and Roel Meertens. "Subtle and Blatant Prejudice in Western Europe." European Journal of Social Psychology 25 (1995): 57–75.
Sears, David O., et al. "Is It Really Racism? The Origins of White Americans' Opposition to Race-Targeted Policies." Public Opinion Quarterly 61 (1997): 16–53.
Simpson, George, and J. Milton Yinger. Racial and Cultural Minorities: An Analysis of Prejudice and Discrimination. 5th ed. New York: Plenum, 1985.
Smith, Eliot R. "Social Identity and Social Emotions: Toward New Conceptualizations of Prejudice." In Affect, Cognition, and Stereotyping: Interactive Processes in Group Perception, edited by Diane Mackie and David L. Hamilton, 297–315. San Diego, Calif.: Academic, 1993.
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"Prejudice." New Dictionary of the History of Ideas. . Encyclopedia.com. (March 28, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/prejudice
"Prejudice." New Dictionary of the History of Ideas. . Retrieved March 28, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/prejudice
Prejudice is defined as the affective or evaluative component of the tripartite attitude structure of social bias. As such, prejudice consists of the emotional reaction evoked by social group members, is informed by the cognitive component or stereotype held about the perceived social group, and predicts the discrimination or behavior exhibited toward the group members. Prejudice as a concept has interested social scientists since World War II (1939–1945). The Holocaust drove a number of Jewish psychologists from Europe to the United States, where they initiated relevant research on conformity, obedience, aggression, and prejudice.
Prejudice initially had been considered simple animosity or negative affect toward out-groups. However, beginning with Gordon Allport’s The Nature of Prejudice (1954), social scientists began to analyze the psychological construct in a more nuanced, differentiated manner. As a result, prejudice is now viewed as more than simple animosity. Led by Allport’s influential work, social psychologists in the late 1990s and early 2000s posited various intergroup emotion models to predict the types of prejudice elicited by different types of out-groups. These theories borrowed from work across the social sciences, including political science, economics, and evolutionary psychology. The gist of the models was that when we encounter an out-group member, an initial threat appraisal is based on his or her perceived social category. For instance, Susan Fiske and colleagues’ Stereotype Content Model argues that the interaction of perceived warmth (good or ill intention) and competence (ability to enact the intention) predict four types of emotional prejudices evoked by the out-group member. These models therefore allow for ambivalent emotions (e.g., pity, envy) beyond a simple like-dislike (e.g., pride, contempt) dimension, and, as a result, have allowed the landscape of prejudice to become much more detailed and comprehensive.
Prejudice occupies a dual-process model of attitude processes. Attitudes comprise the evaluations of attitude-objects, and research in the 1990s unearthed the central insight that attitudes include both an explicit and implicit component. The explicit component is the easily self-reported attitude in conscious awareness. The implicit component is often hidden from our consciousness, but does inform unintentional responses to out-groups. Moreover, the implicit attitude results from learned associations picked up from social environments. Prejudice is therefore thought to have an implicit and explicit component.
A dispute followed the adoption of this dual-process framework, and the field of prejudice serves as a primary battleground. The conflict involves whether one’s implicit attitude is really an attitude, and if it is, is it the same as one’s explicit attitude? For instance, one may hold egalitarian beliefs about social groups and as a result, not report any prejudiced feelings toward a certain social group. However, one’s implicit attitude is informed by the society one inhabits, and a stronger association between a group and negativity may lie deep in one’s unconscious. Hence, even though one does not explicitly hold any prejudiced attitudes, one’s implicit beliefs may contradict this position.
Nevertheless, prejudice continues to be conceived in lay terms as simple animosity—a conception that makes it a taboo topic. The advent of the civil rights movement of the 1960s changed the social norm against prejudice, and expressing overtly prejudiced attitudes slowly became unacceptable, particularly to members of minority racial and ethnic groups. This norm change did not eliminate these prejudices, however; to the contrary: Institutional imbalances alone point to continued bias. Instead, social scientists argued that prejudiced attitudes are now more often held implicitly, adding more fire to the dual-process debate.
This antiprejudice social norm’s demands persist today, preventing social science researchers from measuring prejudice simply by self-report. As a result, researchers tend to use subtle, indirect measures. For instance, instruments such as David Sears’s and John McConahay’s Modern Racism Scale assesses prejudiced attitudes toward black Americans via indirect questions that ask participants to make judgments about concerns related to disadvantaged minorities. The scale also has a component that measures traditional, “old-fashioned” blatant prejudice, as well as the modern, subtle component described above. This scale correlates with antiminority voting, among other behaviors.
Conceiving of prejudice in a dual-process framework also has led to the creation of implicit measures of prejudice. These measures test the strength of association between the attitude-object and negative constructs. The most popular such measure, the Implicit Association Test (IAT) developed by Anthony Greenwald and Mahzarin Banaji, uses reaction times to detect differences between the strength of prejudiced and unprejudiced associations. The test asks participants to categorize a prompt (either a word or a picture of a face) in the middle of a computer screen to either the left or the right category. In some trials one side is positive valence, the other negative, and in others, one represents a social category (black people) and the other another (white people). After several trials, valence and social category are both represented on either side (white-positive on one, black-negative on the other side) and the speed of categorization is assessed. These congruent trials are subtracted from incongruent trials where the opposite pairings are represented. A resulting faster time categorizing white-positive and black-negative pairings indicates that the association between the opposite pairings is more difficult for participants to make and thus, people show an implicit association, for example, between black and bad, white and good. The score on the IAT predicts a number of related phenomena such as nonverbal behavior in an interracial interaction, discrimination against out-groups, location on a liberal-conservative continuum, support for antidiscrimination policies such as affirmative action, and even neural activity in brain regions associated with negative affect (disgust and fear in particular).
Developments in technology and in social neuroscience have illuminated the neural underpinnings of prejudice. Both white and black participants have viewed white and black faces while their neural activity was recorded using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI). Participants across a number of studies consistently show greater brain activity in structures associated with emotional vigilance (amygdala) and disgust (insula) when viewing unfamiliar black faces than when viewing unfamiliar white faces (although the effect is always smaller for the black participants). Further, the amount of participants’ brain activity correlated with their scores on the IAT. These fMRI studies support the idea that prejudice may result in part from social learning, both because an IAT score indicates knowledge of the negative stereo-types about the social group, and because blacks also show the effect.
Social context can reduce this neural activity simply by changing the social goal of the participants. When forced to think of people as individuals, not just category members, the increased activation in the amygdala provoked by viewing black faces diminishes below significance. Converging evidence also comes from electroencephalography (EEG). This technique likewise measures brain activity, but by detecting small electrical signals produced by neural cells as they fire. These studies also demonstrate that once the social goals change, social processing changes within 200 milliseconds. Changed social goals carry over even to subsequent nonsocial tasks, as whites’ efforts to appear unprejudiced cost them executive control in purely cognitive tasks.
Other than changing social goals, a few strategies reduce or eliminate prejudice, with varying degrees of success. The most successful, and ironically the most heavily debated, is the intergroup contact hypothesis proposed by Allport. According to the hypothesis, because social learning of stereotypes influences prejudice, contact with out-group members will eliminate the category-based dependence on stereotypes for information; instead, information will result from the nuanced interaction itself. The contact hypothesis utilizes potential friendship to diminish the limited, categorical perception of the out-group member based on stereotypes and replace it with a more nuanced, individuated perception. However, contact works to reduce prejudice under only certain conditions—cooperation rather than competition, equal status in the social interaction, authority endorsement, and meaningful interactions.
Certain individual differences make one more likely to hold prejudiced attitudes than not. Political ideologies, particularly right-wing authoritarian (RWA) beliefs, predict explicit levels of prejudice. An authoritarian individual demonstrates conformity to convention, authority-sanctioned aggression against deviants, and submission to authorities. Additionally, dominance-oriented personalities also tend to be more likely to hold prejudiced beliefs because they endorse the inevitability of group hierarchy. In this view, societies minimize group conflict by promoting ideologies that endorse discrimination and the dominant social hierarchy. Essentially, social dominance orientation prefers hierarchy over equality and dominance over parity. As a result, scales that measure these two constructs have also been used as indicators of prejudice. Prejudice level therefore can be predicted by political ideologies.
Allport, Gordon. 1954. The Nature of Prejudice. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.
Banaji, Mahzarin, and Anthony Greenwald. 1994. Implicit Stereotyping and Prejudice. In The Psychology of Prejudice: The Ontario Symposium, vol. 7, ed. Mark P. Zanna and James M. Olson, 55–76. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Fiske, Susan T., Amy J. Cuddy, Peter Glick, and Jun Xu, Jun. 2002. A Model of (often mixed) Stereotype Content: Competence and Warmth Respectively Follow from Perceived Status and Competition. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 82: 878–902.
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Lasana T. Harris
Susan T. Fiske
"Prejudice." International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. (March 28, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/applied-and-social-sciences-magazines/prejudice
"Prejudice." International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. . Retrieved March 28, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/applied-and-social-sciences-magazines/prejudice
Throughout human history, civilizations have been plagued by the problems that result from people’s prejudice and bigotry toward one another. In this context, prejudice is a negative attitude that occurs when people prejudge disliked others, and bigotry is an extreme form of it. Social scientists have written extensively about the correlates of prejudice because of its relationship to group conflict and violence (e.g., Janowitz 1969). Much of this attention has focused on the connections between group conflict and a host of social phenomena that are associated with prejudice, including though not limited to stereotyping, rioting, terrorism, and, not the least among them, bigotry (e.g., Hovland and Sears 1940; Green et al. 1998). Common terms related to bigotry include ethnocentrism and intergroup hatred.
Bigotry refers to extreme intolerance of members of a socially recognized and vilified out-group. An out-group is a group other than the one in which individuals perceive themselves to belong. Prejudice refers to negative attitudes toward members of a group that may or may not be expressed. Though similar (e.g., they both refer to a bias in perception of others), the two terms—bigotry and prejudice—may be distinguished, with bigotry representing a more extreme and brazen form of prejudice.
Bigotry, though not an intractable problem, is one that has shaped the nature of interaction between groups of people throughout history and around the world. For example, intergroup relations between blacks and whites in the United States, Germans and Jews in twentieth-century Europe, Israelis and Palestinians in the Middle East, Africans and Afrikaners in South Africa, heterosexual and gay people, and men and women have all been affected by bigotry and bigoted attitudes. Bigotry and the corresponding problems that ensue from it remain high on the list of “social evils,” and most people perceive the bigot to be a person who is obstinately narrow minded, antisocial, and lacking the moral acuity that many believe themselves to possess.
In general, researchers who study bigotry recognize the difficulties involved in identifying its causes. This is because there are often important related variables to consider, including differences (or similarities) in cultural orientation, national identity, and religious background, as well as contact and familiarity—all of which can be associated with bigotry. Not surprisingly, more is known about the consequences of bigotry (e.g., harassment, assault, riots, terrorism) than about the factors that give rise to it.
Researchers have employed a host of methods to assess the presence of bigotry. In earlier years, attempts to measure bigotry often involved direct questionnaires in which respondents indicated the degree to which they liked or disliked an out-group. More recently, changing social norms prohibit direct expression of prejudice and bigotry in most settings. Consequently, researchers have employed more covert measures, such as reaction-time tests in which the time needed to respond to a stimulus is taken as an indirect indicator of a person’s attitude. In other cases, behavioral measures, such as seating choice and proximity to a member of an out-group, have been used as indicators of bigotry.
Importantly, some of the earliest social science research addressing the problem of bigotry focused on patterns of interaction and violence perpetrated by whites against African Americans in the United States. Until the late 1950s, blatant racism and physical violence directed at African Americans was normative and well entrenched within the social fabric of American society. Whereas some blamed white fears about miscegenation (i.e., interracial sexual relations) for the collective violence directed at the newly freed class of citizens, others generally attributed the problem to the expanding rights of African Americans.
Contemporary research and theory on bigotry can be conceptualized along a continuum. At one end are those theories that locate the causes of bigotry outside of the individual at the societal level (i.e., the macro level of analysis). These types of theories are largely context dependent. At the other end of this conceptual continuum are explanations for bigotry that attribute causality to internal factors such as deficiencies in the individual’s personality, limitations in information-processing capacities, or physiological and biological mechanisms.
Many of the efforts toward understanding the problem of bigotry have involved individualistic accounts of prejudice focusing on such cognitive processes as stereotyping, categorization, and learning. In the U.S. tradition of social psychology, researchers have tended to focus on the individual’s thought processes and experiences while overlooking or minimizing ways that the wider social context can instigate bigotry (Bar-Tal and Teichman 2005). In contrast, researchers outside of the United States, as well as many of those within the discipline of sociology (e.g., Feagin and Feagin 1986), have focused upon the institutional and structural factors that can be both causes and effects of bigotry. According to this approach, current institutional policies and organizational structures continue to discriminate because they were established in the past by those most privileged by discriminatory policies. Because of these policies, people who were targets of prejudice in the past continue to experience discrimination long after explicit expressions of bigotry and acknowledgement of prejudice have ceased to occur.
Although interest in studying bigotry has varied over the years, a renewed interest in the topic is evident among researchers addressing issues related to cyberhate, terrorism, and religious and nationalistic fanaticism. In the case of cyberhate, the speed of the Internet and its widespread accessibility make the spread of bigotry almost instantaneous and increasingly available to vulnerable populations (Craig-Henderson 2006). As for the relationship between bigotry and nationalism, there are a host of researchers studying the Arab-Israeli conflict in the Middle East (e.g., Bar-Tal and Teichman 2005). That particular conflict has roots in the Zionist occupation of the country of Israel, formerly known as Palestine. Because of the historical realities that have created the state of Israel, today’s Arabs and Jews in that region have very distinct group identities that have given rise to their intergroup conflict. Social science researchers who study this kind of group conflict have demonstrated that the strength of identification with one’s in-group is associated with one’s expressed bigotry toward the out-group. In many situations, the more strongly one identifies with an in-group, the more bigoted one is against members of the out-group.
Bigotry can be minimal and manifested in avoidance or social exclusion of the out-group, or it can be severe and deadly. In 1998 James Byrd Jr., an African American man in Jasper, Texas, was murdered by white supremacists who dragged him to death behind their pickup truck after offering him a ride home. As members of a white supremacist group, Byrd’s murderers were extreme in their bigotry. As a black man, Byrd was perceived by his murderers to be a member of a despised out-group.
Similarly brutal attacks have targeted sexual minorities. In 1998 the murder of the college student Matthew Shepard near Laramie, Wyoming, was attributed to antigay bigotry. Most public opinion polls reveal continuing evidence of this form of bigotry (Herek 2000). Shepard’s bigoted murderers were highly prejudiced toward gay people. Other examples of well-known bigots include David Duke, the former leader of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan; Nazi chancellor of Germany Adolph Hitler (1889–1945); and French politician Jean-Marie Le Pen.
One popular and long-standing idea within the social psychological literature has been that bigotry can be reduced with intergroup contact. That is, through contact with one another under ideal conditions, formerly bigoted out-groups could come to look favorably upon one another and thereby attenuate conflict and bigotry. However, this optimistic outlook has fallen out of favor in recent years as its theoretical underpinnings have been challenged by a number of researchers studying bigotry. For example, when one considers the pervasiveness of gender bias against women and the paradoxical intimacy that characterizes relations between heterosexual males and females, it becomes clear that contact, while necessary, is not sufficient to eliminate bigotry. Furthermore, there is relatively little research investigating the extent to which contact between different real-world racial and ethnic groups can actually breed harmony. How then to solve the problem of bigotry? The best strategy is one that includes education, interaction, and legislation. Indeed, any efforts aimed at eliminating bigotry must involve attention to each aspect of this tripartite approach.
SEE ALSO Ethnocentrism; Prejudice; Racism
Bar-Tal, Daniel, and Rona Teichman. 2005. Stereotypes and Prejudice in Conflict: Representations of Arabs in Israeli Jewish Society. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.
Bramel, Dana. 2004. The Strange Career of the Contact Hypothesis. In The Psychology of Ethnic and Cultural Conflict, eds. Yueh-Ting Lee, Clark McCauley, Fathali Moghaddam, and Stephen Worchel, 49–67. Westport, CT: Praeger.
Craig-Henderson, Kellina M. 2006. Hate on the Net: Bigotry + Computer Technology = Cyber Hate. International Journal of Knowledge, Culture, and Change Management 6 (4): 29–36.
Feagin, Joe R., and Clairece Booher Feagin. 1986. Discrimination American Style: Institutional Racism and Sexism. 2nd ed. Malabar, FL: Krieger.
Green, Donald P., Jack Glaser, and Andrew Rich. 1998. From Lynching to Gay Bashing: The Elusive Connection Between Economic Conditions and Hate Crime. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 75: 85–92.
Herek, Gregory M. 2000. The Psychology of Sexual Prejudice. Current Directions in Psychological Science 9 (1): 19–22.
Hovland, Carl J., and Robert R. Sears. 1940. Minor Studies in Aggression: VI. Correlations of Lynchings with Economic Indices. Journal of Psychology 9: 301–310.
Janowitz, Morris. 1969. Patterns of Collective Racial Violence. In The History of Violence in America: Historical and Comparative Perspectives, eds. Hugh Davis Graham and Ted Robert Gurr, 412–443. New York: Bantam.
Kellina M. Craig-Henderson
Any opinion, findings, or conclusions expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
"Bigotry." International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. (March 28, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/applied-and-social-sciences-magazines/bigotry
"Bigotry." International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. . Retrieved March 28, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/applied-and-social-sciences-magazines/bigotry
Prejudice became a very popular term in social psychology during the 1920s and 1930s, partly out of a concern with the development of attitude theory (and new techniques for scaling attitudes such as the Bogardus social distance scale); partly because of a concern with the widespread existence of hostility to ethnic minorities in the United States and the rise of anti-semitism in Europe; and partly due to a generalized concern with minority groups. The original tradition of prejudice research reached its peak with the publication of two major books: Theodor Adorno et al. , The Authoritarian Personality (1950)
and Gordon Allport 's The Nature of Prejudice (1954)
. The former provided the most detailed analysis of the personality foundations of prejudice; the latter attempted a synthesis of research findings, trying to integrate the psychological, structural, and historical foundations of prejudice. Although much research has continued in this tradition, the term has also been heavily criticized within sociology, notably for its individualistic implications.
Sociological definitions of the term tend also to stipulate that prejudice violates some social norm such as rationality, justice, or tolerance. Overgeneralization, prejudgement, the refusal to take account of individual differences, and thinking in stereotypes all violate rational thought. Similarly, in so far as the net effect of prejudice is to place the individual or group at some disadvantage that is not merited, prejudice is inherently unjust. Prejudice also involves intolerance and even the violation of human dignity. Zygmunt Bauman, in Thinking Sociologically (1990), suggests that prejudice results in double moral standards. What the members of the in-group deserve as of right will be an act of grace and benevolence if done for the people of the out-group. He goes on to insist that ‘most importantly, one's own atrocity against out-group members does not seem to clash with moral conscience’. Identical actions are called different names, alternatively loaded with praise or condemnation, depending on which side has undertaken them. One person's act of liberation is another's act of terrorism.
Prejudice is both a consequence of and a reinforcement for the existence of in-groups and out-groups, which embody the distinction between ‘them’ and ‘us’. In-group and out-group attitudes are intrinsically related, because in-group feeling results in out-group sentiment, and vice versa. It could almost be claimed that one side derives its identity from the fact of its opposition to the other. In this sense the out-group is necessary for the cohesion and emotional security of the in-group, and an out-group might need to be invented, if one does not already exist. A classic but ethically disturbing example of how an in-group and out-group were experimentally created is described in Muzafer Sherif and and Carolyn Sherif , An Outline of Social Psychology (1956)
. The authors structured activities at a boys' camp such that two specially created clubs had to compete with each other for rewards. The respective members soon developed hostility towards, and stereotypes of, each other—despite initially having equal numbers of friends in each club. The authors conclude that these stereotypes must have been created rather than learned.
Groups also tend to close ranks when an enemy is at hand. Prejudice, by magnifying the vices of the enemy, ensures that norms of justice and tolerance no longer apply. Prejudice does not always result in any hostile action, but when prejudice is made manifest it can range from (at minimum) avoidance or discrimination, through to mass extermination, as in the Holocaust.
"prejudice." A Dictionary of Sociology. . Encyclopedia.com. (March 28, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/prejudice
"prejudice." A Dictionary of Sociology. . Retrieved March 28, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/prejudice
The American Heritage Dictionary defines prejudice as "an adverse judgment or opinion formed beforehand or without knowledge or examination of the facts." The history of public health provides numerous examples of how irrational suspicion or hatred of a particular group, race, or religion resulted in injury to members of that group. Many of these cases of injury are owing to the differential treatment or outright medical neglect of certain groups. Human beings are a homogeneous species, and genetic data indicate that there are few biological differences between ethnic and racial populations that explain differences in health status. Discriminatory behavior by public health professionals on the basis of race, religion, or other social category jeopardizes the health care system by providing inequitable and inadequate care. In response to this threat, federal civil rights legislation proposes the rescension of federal funding to hospitals that violate civil rights laws.
Stephen B. Thomas
(see also: Civil Rights Act of 1964; Cultural Appropriateness; Equity and Resource Allocation; Ethnicity and Health; Ethnocentrism; Inequalities in Health; Minority Rights; Segregation )
Krieger, N. (1999). "Embodying Inequality: A Review of Concepts, Measures, and Methods for Studying Health Consequences of Discrimination." International Journal of Health Services 29:295–352.
Montagu, A. (1997). Man's Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Race, 6th edition. Walnut Creek, CA: Alta Mira Press.
"Prejudice." Encyclopedia of Public Health. . Encyclopedia.com. (March 28, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/prejudice
"Prejudice." Encyclopedia of Public Health. . Retrieved March 28, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/prejudice
69. Bigotry (See also Anti-Semitism.)
- Beaumanoir, Sir Lucas de prejudiced ascetic; Grand Master of Templars. [Br. Lit.: Ivanhoe ]
- Bunker, Archie middle-aged bigot in television series. [TV: “All in the Family” in Terrace, I, 47–48]
- fiery cross used as symbolic threat by Ku Klux Klan. [Am. Hist.: Jobes, 387]
- Hitler, Adolf (1889–1945) German dictator; his New Order excluded non-Aryans, e.g., Jews, Slavs. [Ger. Hist.: Hitler ]
- Jim Crow Negro stereotype popularized by 19th-century minstrel shows. [Am. Hist.: Van Doren, 138]
- John Birch Society ultra-conservative, anti-Communist U.S. organization founded in 1958. [Am. Hist.: NCE, 1421]
- Ku Klux Klan anti-Negro terrorist organization, started in southern U.S. [Am. Hist.: Allen, 46–49]
- Lebenshorn Himmler’s adoption/breeding scheme to produce master race. [Ger. Hist.: Hitler, 1046]
- Light in August study of race problem in South. [Am. Lit.: Light in August ]
- Little Rock, Arkansas required military intervention to desegregate schools (1957–1958). [Am. Hist.: Van Doren, 556–557]
- Native Son pictures underprivileged Negro as either churchgoer or criminal. [Am. Lit.: Native Son, Magill I, 643–645]
- Nazi Nazionalsozialist ; rabid anti-Semite member of Hitler’s party. [Ger. Hist.: Shirer]
- New Order partially fulfilled Nazification of Europe. [Eur. Hist.: Hitler, 935, 1055]
"Bigotry." Allusions--Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. . Encyclopedia.com. (March 28, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/bigotry
"Bigotry." Allusions--Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. . Retrieved March 28, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/bigotry
A forejudgment; bias; partiality; preconceived opinion. A leaning toward one side of a cause for some reason other than a conviction of its justice.
A juror can be disqualified from a case for being prejudiced, if his or her views on a subject or attitude toward a party will unduly influence the final decision.
When a lawsuit is dismissed without prejudice, it signifies that none of the rights or privileges of the individual involved are considered to be lost or waived. The same holds true when an admission is made or when a motion is denied with the designation without prejudice.
A dismissal without prejudice permits a new lawsuit to be brought on the same grounds because no decision has been reached about the controversy on its merits. The whole subject in litigation is as much open to a subsequent suit as if no suit had ever been brought. The purpose and effect of the words without prejudice in a judgment, order, or decree dismissing a suit are to prohibit the defendant from using the defense of res judicata in any later action by the same plaintiff on the subject matter. A dismissal with prejudice, however, is a bar to relitigation of the subject matter.
A decision resulting in prejudicial error substantially affects an appellant's legal rights and is often the ground for a reversal of the judgment and for the granting of a new trial.
"Prejudice." West's Encyclopedia of American Law. . Encyclopedia.com. (March 28, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/law/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/prejudice
"Prejudice." West's Encyclopedia of American Law. . Retrieved March 28, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/law/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/prejudice
prejudice, unsubstantiated prejudgment of an individual or group, favorable or unfavorable in character, tending to action in a consonant direction. The hostility that prejudice can engender and the discrimination to which it may lead on the part of a dominant population toward an ethnic group, gender, religious or linguistic minority have caused great human suffering throughout history. Some researchers attribute prejudice to deep-rooted
"fear of the stranger,"
while others cite religious or nationalist chauvinism, and fear of economic competition. Most, however, agree that prejudice is learned and can be reduced when members of different communities work together toward the realization of a common goal or when groups intermarry. Since prejudice and discrimination each contribute to the origin and growth of the other, prejudice can be reduced by removing discrimination, and a change in discriminatory institutions usually leads to a change in attitudes.
See G. Allport, the Nature of Prejudice (1979); R. Williams, Mutual Accommodation (1979); T. Pettigrew, Sociology of Race Relations (1980).
"prejudice." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (March 28, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/prejudice
"prejudice." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved March 28, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/prejudice
prej·u·dice / ˈprejədəs/ • n. 1. preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience: English prejudice against foreigners | anti-Jewish prejudices. ∎ dislike, hostility, or unjust behavior formed on such a basis: accusations of racial prejudice. 2. chiefly Law harm or injury that results or may result from some action or judgment: prejudice resulting from delay in the institution of the proceedings. • v. [tr.] 1. give rise to prejudice in (someone); make biased: the statement might prejudice the jury. 2. chiefly Law cause harm to (a state of affairs): delay is likely to prejudice the child's welfare. PHRASES: without prejudice Law without detriment to any existing right or claim: the payment was made without any prejudice to her rights.
"prejudice." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (March 28, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/prejudice-0
"prejudice." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved March 28, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/prejudice-0
"bigotry." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (March 28, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/bigotry
"bigotry." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved March 28, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/bigotry
"prejudice." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (March 28, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/prejudice
"prejudice." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved March 28, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/prejudice